Meet Vector, a mini home robot with a big personality

Anki, an electronics and artificial intelligence start-up, released a new home robot called Vector, with voice controls similar to Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant.

What differentiates Vector is that it’s a tiny, desktop robot.

“It’s really this combination of a characterful little robot combined with utility functions,” said Hanns Tappeiner, Anki’s president and co-founder. “We’re interested in a future where humans and robots co-exist in people’s homes.”

Vector can answer questions, tell you the weather, control smart home devices and recognize people. It uses deep learning and AI to form personalized relationships with humans. However, it’s not a sophisticated speaker like the Amazon Echo or Google Home.

To wake it up, you say “Hey Vector.”

“There are hundreds of things which the robot keeps track of, and he associates all those interactions with you and your name,” Tappeiner said. “So he will start behaving in different ways towards you than he would behave towards other people who might pay less attention to him.”

Anki previously created an educational robot for kids called Cozmo, which the company said was a top-selling holiday gift in 2017.

The $250 Vector robot is coming this October.

Anki has raised more than $200 million from investors including J.P. Morgan, Andreessen Horowitz, Two Sigma and Index Ventures. The company said it generated over $100 million in revenue in 2017.